BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance providing for the anti-distracted pedestrian in the city.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that the purpose of the proposed measure is to regulate the use of mobile electronic devices by certain individuals in the city.
Under the proposed ordinance, no pedestrian shall cross a street or highway while viewing a mobile electronic device in a manner that averts his or her visual attention to the said device.
Further, parents or guardians are reminded to keep their eyes on their children from viewing said devices while crossing streets, roads, and highways to prevent the incidents that compromise their safety.
However, among those exempted from the coverage of the measure are pedestrians using a mobile electronic device for the sole purpose of making an emergency call or text and emergency responders viewing a mobile electronic device while in the performance of their official duties.
The ordinance stipulated the City Director of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), the 128 barangays, and other concerned agencies and instrumentalities shall be responsible for the strict implementation of the pertinent provisions of the measure.
Any person found to be violating the pertinent provisions of the ordinance shall be penalized by rendering community service of 15 days for the first offense, community service of 30 days for the second offense, and a fine of P5,000 or imprisonment or both, upon the discretion of the court, for the third offense.
Yangot explained in the exercise of its police power and the general welfare close of the Local Government Code, or Republic Act (RA) 7160, the City Council shall exercise powers necessary for its efficient and effective governance by laying down ordinances, among others, to promote the general welfare of the people.
“We are all pedestrians. Walking is one of the best ways to stay healthy, but only if we put our safety, and that of the others, first. Road and pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility and needs to be a collaborative effort by all parties,” Yangot stressed.
He pointed out reduction or elimination of distracted pedestrian injuries is an important and achievable policy goal and the use of mobile electronic phones is growing gigantic worldwide and studies suggest that pedestrians who are distracted by phone conversations or other distracting activities, such as listening to music or texting, take greater risks when crossing roads, particularly in streets where there is a great mix of traffic.
The alderman claimed it has been observed by some responsible pedestrians and law enforcers that there are numerous individuals crossing streets who still continue to glimpse at their mobile electronic devices while trying to go to the other side of a road or highway that cause them to unduly bump into other pedestrians and result to altercations, while others are sideswiped by motor vehicles that inflict injuries to them.
By Dexter A. See